Mixologist wins statewide competition
A West Michigan bartender has bragging rights as one of the best bartenders in the state.
Tyler Kershek won the 2nd annual Full Contact Cocktails Competition recently at New Holland Brewing Co. in Holland. Kershek is the beverage manager and founding staff member of Kalamazoo’s Principle Food & Drink.
“It was an honor to participate alongside the high caliber of bartenders from across our state.” said Kershek. “It’s important to give prevalence to the craft cocktail movement, and well represent the Kalamazoo market, which stood strong against some very high profile markets.”
The award “stays in the family” as last year’s winner, Victor Cruz, hailed from Salt of the Earth, a restaurant that is owned by Chef Matthew Pietsch, also owner of Principle Food & Drink.
Pietsch is part of an ownership group with Casey Longton, Robert Nicol and Mark Schrock.
Kershek won the grand prize of travel and lodging to the national cocktail competition “Tales of the Cocktail” in New Orleans, Louisiana. He competed against mixologists from across the state.
“The energy in the room was incredible. It's amazing to see Michigan's cocktail culture elevate in front of our very eyes,” said Fred Bueltmann, New Holland Artisan Spirits vice president of brand and lifestyle. “It was no small feat for Tyler to make it into the final round and take the belt home against very stiff competition from all over the state. His drinks were inventive, thoughtfully prepared and deserving of the crown.”